Rich Galen

Fair Warning: This edition of Mullings has little to recommend it. I suggest you take a bite of your morning bagel and move along to something else.

Now that gasoline has hit a gazillion dollars per gallon, I have been riding the Skippy Scooter into town to save money.

As I was weaving in and out of traffic and irritating drivers of vehicles weighing 20 times more than the SS, I wondered just how much am I saving?

Ok. Again, with the usual warning that my arithmetic skills are somewhat lacking here are the calculations:

Nationally, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.07. Using the rule of thumb that the grades go up by ten-cents-per-gallon, let's say the price of a gallon of mid-grade is $3.17 - which is what I put in the Mullmobile.

The Mullmobile is a 1999 Land Rover Discovery with about 113,000 miles. It gets about 15 miles per gallon, which means, since I've owned it I have purchased some 7,333 gallons of fuel but that's not the point of this exercise.

From my house to my office is about nine miles. As luck would have it that means I use exactly six-tenths of a mile of gasoline to get to work. $3.17 times .6 equals about $1.90 in fuel costs. As I generally drive to work and then home again, that equals $3.80 for the round trip.

Now, the Skippy Scooter. It gets about 70 miles per gallon. That means the 18-mile round trip to and from work uses a little over a quarter of a gallon or about 80 cents worth of fuel.

That is a savings of $3.00 per day by driving my scooter.

My scooter cost about $2,300. If I drive it to work every day - rain or shine, summer or winter - it will take about three years to break even - sometime in May or June of 2010.

Not that good a deal because that assumes I drive to downtown Washington, DC five days a week, 52 weeks year which I will not do because I also have to fly 125,000 miles per year to keep Delta from sliding back into bankruptcy.

I was worrying about this as I drove to work this morning in the SUV. I stopped at the local Starbucks for my regular skim-no-whip-grande-mocha with two Splendas.

My regular s-n-w-g-m costs about four dollars.

Waiiiiitttt just a minute! When I drive the Mullmobile I stop for a s-n-w-g-m. Every time.

Inasmuch as driving the Skippy Scooter takes most of my eye-to-hand coordination, all of my concentration, and both hands I can't very well hold a cup of Starbucks while driving.

That means I'm not saving $3 per day when I take the scooter. I'm saving SEVEN DOLLARS per round trip.

I won't have to wait until May of 2010 to break even. I'll get there some time near the end of June of next year!

Say, if I buy one of those Segway things …

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Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at